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 I drive past Bread Bar on my way home, so I tried to stop in, but parking in their tiny lot and the surrounding streets was too difficult, so I ended up walking to pick up some bread. The place in El Segundo is basically their main office, so do not expect a bakery or cafe; there is NO WHERE to sit and eat your goodies, so plan on taking your purchase home or eating it in your car. The small selection available on the day I went was three kinds of loaves and about 6 kinds of pastries. I chose the sourdough loaf, an apple turnover, and a pain au chocolat.

 The sourdough loaf was a solid choice, with a very nice crust

 and nicely chewy inside crumb texture.

I was less impressed with the pain au chocolat which was more like bread and chocolate than a true viennoiserie. Kudos for the good quality butter and chocolate.

The apple turnover had nice flakey layers, but very little filling. What there was of the filling was done well, with cinnamon, but more filling to pastry ratio would have made this much better.

I toasted up a slice of the sourdough with some Irish butter and Italian prosciutto to make a delicious snack after my trek, so it was a good day 🙂

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Walking around El Segundo, I saw a sign that said El Segundo Fish Co was celebrating 15 years, so I stopped in to taste what has kept them in business for 15 years! I am so glad I did 🙂 The extensive menu has everything from seafood to fish, prepared in all the ways you could probably imagine. It reminds me a bit of the Reel Inn along the Malibu coast, casual, local, and friendly.

They had wild sea bass from New Zealand, so I ordered it blackened with a side salad and black beans. The salad was nearly a meal by itself! I didn’t care for the balsamic dressing, so I just used salt and pepper on it. I understood why so many people were taking their orders to go once I got to the bottom of my salad, I was nearly full 🙂

The side of black beans was so good, I could have also made a meal of of them! Whoever cooked them, knows exactly how to season and simmer these legumes to perfection. After one bite of the fish, I knew I would be coming back. It was moist, perfectly seasoned, and just cooked through. It was also a huge filet, and I took my time eating one small bite at a time until I finished the entire thing (I hear that is also how you eat an elephant)! I didn’t use or care for the buttery sauce on the side, so I was very glad I had ordered it blackened. There are also plenty of table condiments so you may custom season your meal.

I came back to try the shrimp, with a side of asparagus and rice, totaling $21, which was a bargain considering the amount of shrimp, but although I loved the asparagus, I found the shrimp over cooked, and the rice had a butter like flavor that I did not enjoy.

I tried a glass of Pinot Grigio, and was pleasantly surprised by the generous serving for $6, even more of a bargain on Sundays when all wines by the glass are half off (I prefer the Sauvignon Blanc after tasting both).

Since I love fried calamari $10.95, I had to try theirs, and it did not disappoint, with crispy batter and tender squid, this was delicious with just lemon and salt, although they offer a trio of sauces if you prefer. Even the appetizer portion is easily enough for two or more, so share it.

I had to order my favorite side of asparagus for $2.50 to round out my meal before braving the long 3 block walk home 🙂

Thai food is one of my favorite Asian flavors, so much so that if I had to choose to eat only one kind of cuisine, I would pick Thai. Because I moved (again) last month, I was too tired to cook, but luckily Ubon is located at the halfway point between my old and new abodes. The first time I was early enough to catch the lunch special that included a salad and crispy fried egg roll with my beef Kee Mao flat rice noodles, stir fried with garlic, chili, onions, bell peppers, green beans, bean sprouts, and scallions for $9.95. I asked for it to be spicy and although I really didn’t need to add any spice to it, there were three containers of various peppers on the table, so I “had” to add a bit 🙂

 The small simple salad had a slightly sweet, but refreshing sauce.

 The crispy vegetable egg roll had plenty of vegetables and a great crunch.

On another day, I chose shrimp, and asked for more spice…this time I did not need to add any more peppers, but I did need more tissues 🙂

I had to try one of the non noodle dishes, so the Chinese broccoli with crispy pork belly fit the $10.95 bill. In spite of have to pack and unpack, this nice balance of flavors and textures made me smile all day 🙂 For those who want brown rice instead of jasmine, they offer that, as well as soups, rice dishes, curries (including one with duck), and boba drinks, so Ubon can be a stopover anytime you want a taste of Thai in the middle of Torrance.

Bonci’s Pizzarium is my paradigm for pizza, and there just is no rival for the best of the best. Alas I am thousands of miles away from my favorite, but I found two worthy substitutes in the South Bay.

Locale 90 has two locations in the heart of Riviera Village in Redondo, and on Hermosa Avenue in Hermosa Beach. I loved their Puttanesca with white anchovies, olives, capers, oregano, and chili flakes with a red sauce made with san marzano crushed tomatoes. Although they say the pizza is for one, this $14 plate was two meals for me, so it’s not as pricey as it may seem. The crust had the perfect chew, and although it is not as thin as in in Naples, the added bit of thickness helped hold the toppings so you could pick it up to eat it.

I also tried their Sopressata salami with smoked mozzarella and roasted peppers for $15, which had nice flavors, but the puttanesca was my favorite.

Both locations offer a nice selection of beer and wine, and the Smog City IPA was a perfect accompaniment to the pizza.

Il Romanista is one of the few places in Los Angeles serving up Roman style square pieces like Pizzarium. The sell by slice, not weight, but the spirit of the place is like Pizzarium, with varied choices of fresh ingredients for a very reasonable price for the quality at only $3.50-$4.50 per slice. One slice is good as an appetizer, two for a meal, and three if you are very hungry! This mixed mushroom slice was good on its own, but even better with some red pepper flakes.

They had one slice of squash blossom and goat cheese left, so my friend and I shared it 🙂

The cheesy version of a mushroom slice was just as good as the tomato version.

Although the pizzas are crisp and look flat, the crust has the loft and texture that shows off how the 36-72 hour cold fermentation process has worked its magic.

It’s nice to have good places nearby, but LAX is also nearby, so one day I may just have to make the 17 hour flight for a taste of my pizza paradigm 🙂

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